Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


Flashback: The Smithereens and The Kinks

The Smithereens

In addition to kicking out their own catalog of work over the years, The Smithereens have also provided backing band duties for a number of their musical heroes, including Otis Blackwell, The Beau Brummels, and The Kinks, to name a few.

Here's an interesting note on how the collaboration with The Kinks came about, taken from a recent book, The Kinks: All Day and All of the Night: Day by Day Concerts, Recordings, and Broadcasts, 1961-1996. (purchase) The book has several different notes on Smithereens/Davies appearances, including this one:

"On Friday 22nd, Ray and Dave appear at the Boston Garden in Boston, MA for the WBCN Rock Of Boston concert. Also on are The Raindogs, RTZ, The Smithereens and Foreigner, with a pre-concert set by The Stools. Originally billed as Kinks Unplugged (and supposedly with a third member), the brothers' appearance is changed to an acoustic set by "Ray & Dave Davies of The Kinks". (edit)

On the spot they arrange for the New Jersey-based Smithereens to back them for the last song and a half. This provides the audience with a pleasant surprise as the closed curtain that is behind the duo for most of the set is raised in the middle of 'Lola' to reveal The Smithereens joining in. A rousing set-closer of 'You Really Got Me' follows and Ray and Dave bring the crowd to their feet.

"The Kinks and The Smithereens played as if they'd almost rehearsed," writes Ted Drozdowski in Musician,"bashing along with ragged abandon while Ray pogo'd behind his microphone." Dave will later consider using The Smithereens as his first backing band in 1997, but ultimately the partnership never materializes. Dave subsequently heads back to LA while Ray remains in New York City for the next week before heading back to London."'

Ray and Dave Davies with The Smithereens - Lola - November 22nd, 1991

Highlights from some of the other 'Reens collaborations can be found on The Smithereens rarities compilation Attack of The Smithereens, released in the mid-90s.

The Smithereens Mega-Box Set is an item in my collection that continues to provide plenty of musical listening enjoyment for yours truly. For the unfamiliar, this item was briefly available, limited to 500 copies, signed and numbered by bandleader Pat Dinizio featuring "511 Amazing Rare & Impossible-To-Find Tracks on 21 Incredible CDS!"

Price for the above item was $100.

Sounds awesome, right? It's pretty cool, for sure. And they sold out like hotcakes. I almost didn't get one, and when I got a second chance, you'd better believe that I pounced on it.

Dave Davies - A long time ago

Today, I was listening to a disc of live rarities from the set that includes the version of "Lola" posted above, and wraps up with a trio of live performances featuring The Smithereens backing Dave Davies in Hollywood in August of 1994. It made me a little bit more hungry for the rumored Kinks reunion tour. And c'mon, having The Smithereens as your backing band certainly doesn't suck!

Drummer Dennis Diken lays down a serious backbeat on these tracks, which will come as no surprise to Smithereens fans. Diken is one of the hardest hitting drummers I've ever seen in the live setting. Here's a great shot of the monster at rest, behind the drum kit, from a January show in Spain. The photo below is from 'Reens guitarist Jim Babjak's Myspace page.

Dennis Diken

Check out frontman Pat Dinizio's continuing schedule of living room concerts and other events, including a date in Columbus, OH this coming week.

And in the meantime, enjoy these tracks of the 'Reens with Dave Davies!

Dave Davies Intro
Death of a Clown
Too Much On My Mind
Milk Cow Blues

  • Pingback: The Smithereens, Ray & Dave Davies “Lola (Live)”…Plus More « Rock God Cred()

  • Anythingshouldhappen

    I missed out on the Smithereens box set as I found out about it, it'd been pulled because the other Smithereens objected.

    I do wish they'd agree something and let it out again, I'd snap it up, I'm not prepared to pay the silly prices that some chancers are asking.

    I envy you.

  • Matt

    Honestly, you can download most if not all of the tracks by searching
    Google for Smithereens Megabox or similar.

  • Marcos

    This 21-disc box set was limited to only 500 copies for the entire world! Considering how famous The Smithereens are and still getting record deals for new albums, that’s not very many is it? From what I heard, singer Pat Dinizio got the idea to release the box set because a group of Smithereens super-fans were releasing CD bootlegs of live shows and studio rarities. This set does include the entire Girls About Town EP and related sessions from actual tapes, no vinyl transfers. The original Girls About Town vinyl EP released in 1980 was made in a quantity of approx. 1000 units and is tied with this Mega Box Set as being the ultimate collector’s piece for Smithereens fans. As a record collector himself, Dinizio is not keen to re-releasing this box set, which will only add to its spiking value and collectibility.

  • Marcos

    True Matt, but CD audio is sonically superior in quality to that of MP3, which is a heavily compressed format. That reason, I would never pay for an MP3. Not to mention, the packaging and artwork included with this box set are great, which show the importance of owning a hard copy.

  • Anne

    Great story! Dennis is the best drummer out there!

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